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Book Review

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Captain Nemo
The Fantastic Adventures of a Dark Genius


Author: Kevin J. Anderson
Titan Books
RRP: £7.99, US $12.95, Cdn $14.95
ISBN: 978 0 85768 342 7
Available 16 September 2011

Stowing away, hoping to engage in high adventures upon the seas, Andre Nemo and his friend Jules Verne nearly get away with their plan until Verne is caught, leaving Nemo to travel on his own. When the two old friends reunite Nemo’s adventures become the basis of Verne’s popular novels...

Captain Nemo: The Fantastic Adventures of a Dark Genius is a new novel by Kevin J. Anderson which blends reality with fantasy, bringing together Verne and his real life creation Captain Nemo. Although the subgenre of reimagining’s has had a popular revival, Nemo predates many of them, having originally been published in 2002, before Anderson became involved in expanding the Dune universe books.

I guess that the idea behind the novel was to make a ‘boy’s own’ type adventure and in this respect the novel is successful. In such works character development isn’t particularly required; the characters are only required to exist in order to drive the adventure forward. Also, the book's internal logic is often suspect. But, although desirable, it’s not a requisite of this type of novel.

The book follows the convoluted journey of Nemo. Having set sail with Captain Grant, Nemo finds himself marooned on a deserted Island, only escaping via a hitherto unknown underground world. Verne and Nemo are further separated when Nemo goes to fight in the Crimean War. Captured, he is forced to build the submarine Nautilus, before stealing it and sailing off to rescue the love of his life, Caroline Arronax, before the pair set sail for Atlantis.

I have read much of Anderson’s output and this novel is in a similar vein, good for older teens, but likely to annoy mature readers. Given the perversion of Verne’s life, as depicted in the book and Anderson’s odd take on Nemo, fans of the real Verne would probably do well not to raise their blood pressure by reading this.


Charles Packer

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